Floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters can devastate a town in just a few hours. But the impact on residents can linger for years in the form of anxiety, depression or other mental health problems. 

Heavy rains caused flooding on the Olentangy River on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 near the Ohio State campus.
David Holm / WOSU

Heavy and prolonged rain this week caused flooding in many areas across Central Ohio. The Olentangy River reached a near-record high, Ohio State’s campus sat under inches of water, parts of Westerville were evacuated, and sections of I-71 and Route 23 were closed Wednesday morning due to high water.

Floodwaters fill Stormcroft Avenue off Cooper Road.
Debbie Holmes / WOSU

Fast-rising water Tuesday morning engulfed streets and homes off Cooper Road in Northeast Columbus.  Columbus firefighters sent rescue teams for more than 50 residents.

Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of homes in northeast Columbus had to be evacuated early Tuesday as flood waters swept into the neighborhood.

Jim Casto stands up against the tiled river height gauge along the entrance of the floodwall in Huntington, West Virginia.
Liam Niemeyer / Ohio Valley ReSource

When 78-year-old Jim Casto looks at the towering floodwalls that line downtown Huntington, West Virginia, he sees a dark history of generations past. 

This Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, photo, shows the principal spillway inlet under a gazebo, that redirects excess water out of the Muskingum University's lake in New Concord, Ohio.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Picturesque, and at times, worrisome.

The Muskingum University dam holds back what locals call "College Lake" on the campus of the private liberal arts college. Perched directly over the inlet to the lake's spillway is a wooden gazebo — a locally legendary fixture where many young couples have had their first date or kiss.


Gov. Mike DeWine has declared a state of emergency in 63 Ohio counties due to heavy rains that damaged roadways in June.

It technically began last fall when Hurricane Florence swelled the Ohio River, but really it was all the unnamed storms that came after it — one after another after another, bringing rain on rain on rain across the central U.S. until the Mississippi River hit flood stage this winter.

Much of the Mississippi, and the massive tributaries that feed it, stayed flooded until June. That meant more than 140 days of cascading disasters for hundreds of small towns from Minnesota to Louisiana and catastrophic damage to ranch and farm communities that dot the Mississippi's swollen branches.


Nearly three quarters of Ohio’s counties have received a “state of emergency” declaration because of severe weather last month.

Baby cows outside the Kocher farm.
Olivia Miltner / WOSU

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced it will give loans to organizations impacted by excessive rain and flooding in Ohio.


The village of West Lafayette in Coshocton County is in a state of emergency because of flash flooding.

Google file photo / Creative Commons

An already water-logged Central Ohio is about to get even wetter. The National Weather Service predicts more heavy rainfall will hit the region on Monday and Tuesday, following a rainy weekend that brought flooding to parts of the area.

Recently-sprouted soybeans on a farm in Central Ohio.
Nick Evans / WOSU

The wettest weather in Ohio's recorded history has stalled planting throughout the state, and forecasts for the rest of June aren’t looking any sunnier.

A Rising Lake Erie Causes Floods Along Ohio Shoreline

May 14, 2019
Elizabeth Miller / Ideastream

Floodwaters spilling over western Lake Erie's shoreline have swamped streets, shut down ferries and left behind dangerous debris during the past month. Now residents are bracing for more problems.

Ohio continues to do better in preparing for public health emergencies like flu outbreaks or flooding, according to a study released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.